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Via .@welshconserv

The Wales Audit Office report found that NRW admitted it lost £1m of public money when it sold wood to a sawmill firm without properly putting the deal out to tender.

The Wales Audit Office report revealed repeated failures by Natural Resources Wales to properly tender timber grown on publicly-owned woodland, and that NRW believed it earned £1m less from a 2014 deal than it would have received if it had been offered on the open market.

The report revealed new details of what took place behind the scenes when a 10-year agreement with BSW Timber ended. The firm had failed to deliver part of the deal that was worth £39m to NRW, leading to its collapse in March 2017.

NRW was created by the Welsh Labour Government in 2013 in spite of criticism from the Welsh Conservatives concerning the incompatibility of merging the bodies that ended up creating the new quango.

Welsh Conservative and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Andrew RT Davies said:

“When the people of Wales pay their taxes, they have the right to expect that their hard earned money is treated properly, with care and due diligence.

“So when a public body like NRW so flagrantly breaks the rules by which it is governed in a way the Auditor General of Wales feels he cannot satisfy himself of the legality of such a decision, there must be consequences.

“The Welsh Government must assert their authority on NRW to remind them that they exist to serve the people of Wales in a lawful, outcome-driven, and cost-efficient way. But Welsh Labour must also recognise their own role in creating this quango which seems to be mired in scandal.

“I hope NRW recognises that their investigations into this must produce results and appropriate action – and do not follow the example of rewarding officials which have made poor decisions like the Welsh Labour Government did in the case of the Circuit of Wales.�